Economic and sustainability pressures are forcing oil and gas operators to work their ageing assets hard. But in the drive to achieve sustained operational excellence and protect margins, a reliance on traditional asset integrity methods is hindering maintenance programmes and risking HSE standards.
With the sector accelerating its adoption of digital solutions, it is now turning to digital twin technology to gain a significantly more accurate understanding of their existing asset’s integrity and minimise unplanned project delays and other risks associated with maintenance and upgrade programmes.
AVEVA, a global leader in industrial software, driving digital transformation and sustainability, has developed a full suite of unified digital solutions to support the digitisation of both brownfield and greenfield assets. The technology is being used to tackle a major lack of accurate ‘as-is’ asset information.
“Many companies are using bad data to drive critical decisions,” says Steve Parvin, Vice President, Engineering Information Management at AVEVA. “They may be depending on their own outdated internal and siloed databases or legacy records on an asset they acquired. It’s possible that data handed over when the plant was first completed has not been updated with new maintenance details or updated engineering data. As a result, they are making critical decisions based on information that is not accurate enough to allow them to plan safely and efficiently.
“Engineering data is the core of the digital twin and without good quality engineering data, the twin will not be reliable. Advanced Digital Twin technology paves the way to the future - creating a foundation for making safe, effective and reliable decisions with quick and easy access to critical information and its context,” he added.
Poor asset information can have a far-reaching impact on engineering teams’ ability to understand the as-is integrity of an asset and deliver efficient maintenance project leaving companies at risk of falling short of HSE regulations. Hours can be wasted by engineers having to search for and verify information and, as a result, inaccurate data can lead to costly or even dangerous decisions being made or critical action being missed.
Through the use of laser scanning, sophisticated tagging systems and the digitisation and collation of existing documents into a single hub, a Digital Twin of the ‘as-is’ asset can be created. The twin, which provides, 3D, 2D and 1D engineering information insights generates a clear, accurate-to-the-millimetre picture of the asset as it currently is no matter how much this varies from the original design.
Operators can ‘tag’ different parts of this Digital Twin, to help engineers search easily for parts, such as particular machines or models and check their maintenance log. They can also check to see if the same part needs to be replaced elsewhere on the asset.
“Without these insights designers may plan upgrades that turn out to be impossible – for instance, adding new types of equipment that are not fit for purpose. This causes project delays and downtime, potentially having a knock-on effect on other upgrade and maintenance projects, and so costing money. Worse, safety issues can arise," said Parvin.
With the maintenance projects scheduled throughout the summer months, operators will be exploring all options to keep downtime to a minimum while optimising the performance of their assets. Digital Twin technology is increasingly seen as a key enabler to achieve this.